DISTANCE EDUCATION PROGRAMS
From the Instructor:
- Our Spanish DE courses continue to be part of a pilot program and are experimental in nature. While I do believe that this program will continue I do not know for sure. Also, while we do attempt to offer our courses in sequence every semester, it is possible that a given course might not fit into your program or for other reasons you might have to wait before being able to continue in the sequence.
- Unlike many other distance ed courses, this one meets at a specific time and on specific days. You must be available for class at the days and the times in the course schedule. Though it is a distance ed course you will meet with a class and must be willing to interact, using an audio program that is embedded in your online textbook materials. You will need a broadband connection, and a headset with a mic and earphones. At some point we might try to add a web cam as well and you will be required to have a web camera. This items should be relatively inexpensive.
- Because of the nature of this course your textbook will not be the same one that is being used in ECU’s other Spanish courses. It is an excellent textbook, with exciting technology. However, our “regular” sequence uses a different book. The cost for both the online version and a new hard copy version will probably be around the cost of the book used in the “regular” classes, around $150.00. For the moment I think I will only have to require the online, digital, version of the textbook, though I recommend getting the hard copy textbook, as well. If you decide to use only the online textbook, the cost should be around $100. If you want to purchase the hard copy textbook you can look for a used one and purchase it for much less than a new one. If you continue with our distance ed instruction you should not have to purchase another book for the rest of the 1000 level sequence. If we were not to offer another distance ed course, or the distance ed course that you need, and you wanted to take it with us at ECU, it would be necessary to purchase the “regular” text at additional cost. In addition, the textbook that we will be using covers approximately the same material as in the “regular” course, but it is not exactly the same. If you had to enter into a “regular” class you would be at the same “disadvantage” as transfer students or high school students who place into a level without having taken the “regular” previous course at ECU.
- Exams. You will have two major exams and a final exam. There will also be oral exams and quizzes, but these can be done online. If you are near ECU we can arrange for you to take the exams with us. If you are at a distance and cannot make it to campus you must find someone unrelated to you in an official capacity, with a title, to administer the exam. This can be a school teacher or professor, a clergyman, a military superior officer, a librarian. We must be able to certify that person by calling the organization for which he or she works. I will send the exam directly to him or her, or it will be distributed online to him or her. At the end of the exam the person who administers it will send it back to me and will have to sign a document that certifies that you had no help from any source on the exam. If you cannot find someone to administer the exam or cannot do so by the due date we will not be able to accept your exam. Since the course will have a regular syllabus you should know the dates or approximate dates of your exams in advance.
- Technology and attendance. Because of the importance of speaking and audio in your course, you must have a broadband connection to the internet. You will need a headset with earphones and microphone. External speakers and a stick mic will probably produce noise that will disrupt the class. You must have a quiet area in which to take your course at its regularly scheduled time. If you do not have these you cannot take the course. If there are malfunctions of your equipment during the course you might not be able to successfully complete the course and might receive a failing grade. Malfunctions in your equipment will be equivalent to absences. You will be allowed 3 unexcused absences, but after that you must document the need for it by sending in, for example, a note from a doctor. Equipment malfunctions will not be an accepted excuse. Likewise, the need to work additional hours at your job will not normally be considered an excusable absence. After 3 absences your grade (the total of points you have achieved) will decrease by 3 points per absence. A grade of 65 is required for passing Spanish 1000 level courses.. You will have online and telephone technical support primarily from the publisher of your textbook. Since we have not had wide experience with this technical support we cannot make any claims with regard to it, except to say that the publisher’s representative has told us it is “excellent.” The site of our online course is: www.eduspace.com. The title of your textbook is Nexos. You can take a tour of it as a visitor.
- Your teacher. I have approximately 35 years of experience teaching beginning Spanish courses and I taught distance ed courses at the University of Washington in the days before computers were actively used in classes. Those distance ed classes were very different from the one you are considering taking because we did not have any technology (outside of a copy machine and the US Postal Service!). I am still learning the technology that we will be using and you will have to be patient and “put up” with my “on the job training.” I have used it before and increasingly am becoming proficient but I cannot promise success. I can only promise my effort toward using the technology successfully and my desire for this course to be a success.
- Participation in the course. You will be expected to attend all classes online at the given time, on the given day, and to participate. Our technology gives us the ability for you to “raise your hand” but it is still difficult for me to do this and you must put up with being called on. In the face-to-face class students tend to dislike this, but in our DE class, due the limitations in our technology, there is little choice At ECU we teach Spanish for communication. You will begin to practice the language orally and aurally from the first day and you must participate in speaking to the whole class, reading, writing, listening, and in dealing with culture. It has been the addition of audio to the online delivery of the course that makes our Spanish DE classes possible. If you do not wish to participate as a speaker this course will be difficult for you. You will have regularly scheduled homework, two major written exams, a written final exam, an oral comprehension exam, a speaking exam, compositions, and, possibly, quizzes. Except for the fact that we will be in a “virtual classroom” I would like this course to be as close to our “regular” courses as possible. You must also be prepared to have me record you and your entire class.